(Almost) foolproof pan-seared scallops
I used to consider scallops a special restaurant-only meal. That’s because I could never quite cook them to my satisfaction at home. I grew tired of spending money on a dish that disappointed, so I left the job to the pros. Then Norman Fenton, sous chef at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak, showed me how easy they can be to create a stunning dish at home.
Fenton was on hand at the Detroit News Dish & Design event at EuroAmerican Design Center in April conducting a quick cooking demo that truly impressed. I had the honor of introducing him and got a ringside seat on how to conquer the scallop. Fenton made it look so easy and taste so delicious that I decided yet one more time to attempt making the perfect sea scallop dinner on my own.
He accompanied the perfectly cooked crustacean with a saute of corn, bell peppers and ramps that were just in season (sadly no longer) and topped with a corn mousseline that tied the dish together perfectly.
I’ve adapted what I learned from him into my own dish with asparagus and corn saute, and it was a real hit. Now I can have restaurant-quality scallops at home and listen more intently to the specials the next time I’m dining out.
Seared Scallops with Corn and Asparagus Saute
Recipe from Kate Lawson adapted from Chef Norman Fenton, Bistro 82.
10 wild-caught sea scallops (Jumbo or U-15)
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cold butter
Additional sea salt to taste
Using paper towels, pat scallops very dry and arrange on a plate.
Heat large skillet over medium heat until hot, but not smoking, add oils and heat additional minute. Arrange scallops in skillet in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and cook, without touching, until deep golden brown underneath, about 2-3 minutes. Shake skillet occasionally to help loose the scallops. Using a small metal spatula or large spoon, swiftly loosen and flip each scallop and cook until deep golden brown on the second side and just firm and opaque, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a large plate and keep warm.
After removing cooked scallops from skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and whisk 3 tablespoons lemon juice into the skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Add 2 tablespoons cold butter a few cubes at a time and continue whisking constantly until just melted. Whisk in 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Drizzle over scallops. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately over corn and asparagus saute. Makes 2 servings.
Corn Asparagus Saute
1 bunch asparagus
3 ears fresh corn
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons chopped basil
Wash the asparagus, trim off the bottom 1-2 inches of each stalk and peel lower 2-3 inches. Cut stalks into thirds.
Carefully shave the kernels off the three ears of corn. Melt the butter in a large, flat pan.
Add the asparagus to the butter, allowing all pieces to lay flat on the pan. Don’t crowd the asparagus — if they don’t all fit, do it in batches.
Saute without moving them for a few minutes, or until they begin to brown on the bottom. Salt the asparagus, then flip and brown the other side. Once the second side has browned, remove the asparagus from the pan and add the corn kernels. Saute, stirring, until the corn begins to look translucent and turns a light golden-brown. Add chopped basil, salt and pepper to taste.
Per serving: 740 calories; 56 g fat (24 g saturated fat; 68 percent calories from fat); 35 g carbohydrates; 4 g sugar; 144 mg cholesterol; 1,244 mg sodium; 31 g protein; 7 g fiber.